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Sentence Completions

Link of the Day

Are people still capable of original ideas that result in new discoveries?  Before you answer, take a look at this article about how scientists were able to lure a giant squid out of impenetrable depths in the ocean.  Which details might be relevant if you wanted to use this as a current event for an SAT essay?

Critical Reading: Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole. 

Cover up your answer choices until you have read the sentence carefully and predicted an answer for the easier blank.  Your prediction can be anything from a vague idea to an exact word.  Eliminate any answer choice that does not match the meaning of your prediction.  Then make a prediction for the other blank and eliminate any choice that does not match that prediction.

Understandably, it is the ------- among theater critics who become most incensed when producers insist on ------- celebrated classic plays.

This sentence may not seem to have a lot of meat on it the first time that you read it.  You will need to think clearly and logically to fill in the blanks correctly.  Focus on the second blank because there is more detail associated with it.  Paraphrase the words leading up to it and after it:  Some critics get angry when producers do something to celebrated classic plays.  You are looking for a word that could “understandably” make someone upset or offend them.  Look down at your answer choices.

(A) strategists . . discussing
(B) mediators . . staging
(C) conformists . . praising
(D) traditionalists . . recognizing
(E) purists . . reinterpreting

(A)  Merely discussing something is not offensive.  Eliminate this choice.  (B)  The word staging is neutral, but maybe there is an objection that these plays are being staged instead of other kinds of plays.  Keep this choice until you can definitely eliminate it.  (C)  The plays are already described as “celebrated,” so you already know that they are often praised.  Praising something that is often praised is unlikely to offend people.  Eliminate this choice.  (D)  Again, a celebrated play is by definition recognized, and it does not make sense to take offense if someone recognizes it.  Eliminate this choice.  (E)  If something is celebrated as it is but someone comes along and changes it, people are likely to be offended.  Keep this choice.

Now look at the first blank.  You need a kind of person who would become upset.  Look down at your remaining answer choices.

(B) mediators . . staging
(E) purists . . reinterpreting

(B)  Mediators are in the middle, they are the ones who try to calm people at both ends of the spectrum down.  They are likely to be part of a solution to a disagreement, not the people who are upset.  Eliminate this choice.  (E)  Purists would have a definite opinion and refuse to compromise their beliefs. They would easily become upset if any aspect of a play was changed.  This matches your prediction.

The correct answer is (E).

Words used in this SC:
Incensed: 1) perfumed with incense or 2) enraged, inflamed with wrath
Celebrated: renowned, well-known
Strategists: experts in strategy, often in warfare
Mediators: negotiators between two parties seeking agreement
Staging: putting on a play
Conformists: people who don’t question group standards
Traditionalists: people who like the original or established way of doing something
Recognizing: 1) identifying or 2) acknowledging
Purists: people who insist on strict adherence to a belief or style
Reinterpreting: interpreting again, looking at something a new way, performing it a new way


On sat.collegeboard.org, 59% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT vocabulary, visit www.myknowsys.com!